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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Students Invited to Compete in SmartAg 4.0

Sep. 12, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Students have the chance to conceive the next Uber app, this one in the food world at The Ohio State University Sept. 16-17.

SmartAg 4.0, open to all Ohio college students, aims to attract entrepreneurial-minded students interested in using technology to create the next generation of food system solutions. Attendees will conceive, create and develop app‐based startup business models with the support of business strategists, subject matter experts, thought leaders and idea people. 

“SmartAg4.0 is patterned after ‘hack-a-thon’ events, which are becoming increasingly popular on college campuses,” said Scott Shearer, one of the planners of the event and chair of the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

It’s also similar to HackOHI/O, an event that takes place in November at Ohio State, except SmartAg4.0 focuses on food systems, he said. 

“The goal of SmartAg4.0 is to help transition students from thinking about the companies they might work for upon graduation, to thinking about the businesses they may start upon graduation,” Shearer said. “As much as anything, we hope to whet their appetite for the creation of new businesses.”

Shearer emphasized the event is not a computer programming effort but a brainstorming activity focused on how app development may impact business startups.

Student teams will self-organize, working from Friday night through Saturday afternoon to compete for prizes and cash awards. Wireframe app designs and business strategies will be judged on Saturday afternoon by a panel of venture capitalists and agribusiness leaders. In addition, participants will receive door prizes and food throughout the event.

The event takes place in Ohio State’s Agricultural Administration Building, 2120 Fyffe Road, Columbus. Admission is free but requires registration at


Suzanne Steel

Scott Shearer